Last month, the coming one Game of Thrones series House of the Dragon came under fire after it was noted that the show would potentially ease away from heavily sexual scenes, but still include scenes depicting sexual violence. However, according to writer and executive producer Sara Hess, this is not the case.
“I want to clarify that we do not depict sexual violence in the show,” Hess said an interview with Vanity Fair. “We deal with a case off-screen, and instead show the aftermath and the impact on the victim and the mother of the perpetrator.”
The comments originate from a report from The Hollywood Reporter made late last month, with co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik noting that the writing team behind the series would not “shy away from” showing aspects of sexual violence.
At the time, many viewers assumed that this meant that more sexual violence would be filmed for the spin-off – something that was not common in Game of Thrones, but was shown at times. However, Hess goes on to emphasize that the series instead aims to “focus on the violence against women that is inherent in a patriarchal system.”
“I think what our show does, and what I’m proud of, is that we choose to focus on the violence against women that is inherent in a patriarchal system,” Hess said.
“There are many ‘historical’ or story-based shows that romanticize powerful men in sexual/marital relationships with women who were not actually of consenting age, even if they were ‘willing.’ We put that on screen and we doesn’t shy away from the fact that for the first half of the show our female leads are forced and manipulated into doing the will of grown men.
This is not necessarily done by those we would define as rapists or abusers, but often by generally well-intentioned men who are unable to see that what they are doing is traumatic and oppressive because the system they all live in , normalizes it. It is less obvious than rape, but just as insidious, albeit in a different way.”
Based on George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon tells the story of the rise and fall of the Targaryens, the only family of dragon lords to survive the fall of Valyria. It will take place 300 years before the events of the award-winning series adaptation of Game of Thrones which aired its last episode almost two years ago.